The Sacred Bonfire of the Night
When I was in Boy Scout camp in rural Pennsylvania, we used to have these amazing bonfires. We would wait for darkness to fall and one by one each troop would leave their campsite and trek deep into the woods where no natural light could be seen. Once we made it to the hidden area. we waited to be let in. As we entered in a single file, our voices hushed, darkness enveloped us, a sense of silenced presence everywhere. We would all sit on wooden benchesnwith the fires blazing. One tower of fire on each side. Constructed by hand. Pillars of earth. And up to 100 people, in silence.
Hidden in the woods.
It was magical. It was mystical. It was special. The camp counselors would tell stories. Impart knowledge. Scare us. And at the end of it, we felt like we took part in something sacred. Something that's been taking place for hundreds, if not thousands of years before us.
When the time came to an end, we would all sing the Scout Vesper (sung to the tune of O'Tannenbaum)
Softly falls the light of day,
While our campfire fades away.
Silently each scout should ask:
"Have I done my daily task?
Have I kept my honor bright?
Can I guiltless sleep tonight?
Have I done and have I dared
In everything to be prepared.?"
And Master of Ceremonies for the night would finish with:
"May the Great Scout master, of all scouts, be with us until we meet again.
Poof, the fires went out.
And we went home.
Like kings for the night.